This Is Our Story
Come, Lord Jesus. Be born anew in me. Live in my heart. Abide in my life. I await Your coming!
Read Matthew 1:1-17
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses … let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus” (Heb. 12:1,2, NRSV).
Many people begin reading Matthew at 1:18, because they avoid the list of names. But this is our family tree, our story, the story of God’s faithfulness from creation to new creation–a story in which we have a place, as the promised children of Abraham, through Jesus Christ, the son of Abraham.
Literally, the passage begins with the words “book of genesis of Jesus Christ.” The Creator brings about a new creation through his Messiah. The story up to the time of Christ is told in three episodes: Abraham to David, David to the exile, the exile to Jesus. These reflect the fulfillment of God’s promise, the cost of his people’s unfaithfulness, and the way prepared for his Son. Each episode is described in 14 generations. Fourteen may be twice seven, the perfect number, or the numerical value of the letters spelling David; we cannot be sure. But God’s purposes are being worked out, despite his people’s failures.
The line of descent in Israel’s genealogies was male, but four women are mentioned by name. All were Gentiles, and all were involved in sexually unconventional behavior. This story is for all: neither race, nor gender, nor questionable reputation need exclude anyone from it, once this Gospel has run its course. We may want to skip the lists of names because of the constant repetition of “the father of,” but the repetition has a purpose, which is more obvious if the passage is read aloud rhythmically because the story diverts at the end: Joseph is not “the father of” Jesus–he is “the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus” through the creative act of God. This is God’s new Genesis through which this becomes our story.
Those who self-select from Scripture miss out on gifts from the Holy Spirit. Allow yourself to be addressed by the full text–not a Scripture lite! Reflect on this genealogy.
Dear God, I thank You for drawing near to this world in Christ Jesus. What a visit it was, and what a visitor he was. I bow in worship.
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